College Basketball

Virginia Union tops Shaw in closing moments of CIAA women’s final

The Virginia Union bench and fans erupt as their team pulls away for the lead to defeat shaw University 70-66 in the CIAA women's championship game on Saturday at Time Warner Cable Arena..
The Virginia Union bench and fans erupt as their team pulls away for the lead to defeat shaw University 70-66 in the CIAA women's championship game on Saturday at Time Warner Cable Arena.. jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com

The Shaw Bears led by 4 with 3 minutes, 30 seconds to go, but Virginia Union drained two 3-pointers and hit a tip-in and two free throws to dominate the final minutes and win the CIAA title game, 70-66. Kiana Johnson and Lady Walker combined for 10 points in the final 2:43.

Shaw senior Eboni Ross registered a double-double with 29 points and 17 rebounds, including six offensive and 11 defensive in the loss. She also was 13-of-15 from the foul line and 8-of-12 from the field.

The Panthers’ Johnson turned in a 32-point performance. Walker notched 23 points and 20 rebounds, while Taylor White added 12 points and 13 rebounds.

Virginia Union is 25-2, Shaw 24-7.

Shaw kept the Panthers at bay through much of the final quarter as the Bears had a four-point lead with 3:30 left before VUU converted on a four-point play to cut the lead 64-63, followed by a tip-in from Walker to give the Lady Panthers the one-point lead (65-64). The next possession, Shaw turned the ball over and Johnson was able to knock down a 3-pointer with 27 seconds remaining.

With seven seconds remaining, Ross scored a layup to trim the lead to 68-66. Both teams called a timeout immediately after as two Shaw fouls put VUU in the bonus, Walker hit both shots to make it 70-66, still with 7.0 seconds to play.

Following a timeout by Shaw, the Lady Bears’ 3-point attempt was short and VUU was able secure the rebound for the win.

Fantasha Tyson (Middle Creek, Wake Tech) hit a 3-pointer during the first half to tie the score at 21.

Shaw led 30-28 at the half.

The Bears await a bid to the NCAA Division II tournament. The brackets will be unveiled March 6.

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